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Can we save the banana from extinction?

The grocery store banana as we know it is a monoculture, which means that from Tokyo to Tulsa nearly everyone eats the same variety. That lack of diversity makes the plant incredibly vulnerable, and it’s facing an existential threat in the form of a devastating fungus. The cure may be growing in an office park in North Carolina.


  • Bradley George, Reporter at WUNC-North Carolina Public Radio
  • Matt DiLeo, VP of Product Development at Elo Life Systems
  • Andrew Zaleski, Contributor at Bloomberg Businessweek


  • Read Andrew’s deep dive into the worldwide race to save the banana for Bloomberg Businessweek here.
  • You can find a transcript of the episode here.
Anisa Khalifa is an award-winning podcast producer and host at WUNC. She grew up in a public radio household, and fell in love with podcasts shortly before her friends convinced her to start one with them about Korean dramas. Since joining WUNC in 2021, Anisa has produced Me and My Muslim Friends, CREEP, Tested and Dating While Gray, and is the host of WUNC's weekly podcast The Broadside.
Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
Jerad Walker is WUNC’s editor of narrative audio and podcasts. He joined the station in 2022 after nearly a decade at Oregon Public Broadcasting.
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